-Anger and Physical Health
-Anger and Mental Health
-A Worthy Goal
-Healing Anger Wounds
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under control . Righteous indignation is a God – ordained stimulus for righting that which is wrong , but unjustified anger is the master of the defeated . If we desire to be angry and not sin , then we need to be like Jesus , and be angry at sin . In this book we want to expose the roots of anger , and share how we can put away all “ wrath and anger and clamor and slander ” ( Ephesians 4 : 31 ) .
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peace , patience , kindness , goodness , faithfulness , gentleness , self – control ” ( Galatians 5 : 22 – 23 ) . The word patience or longsuffering in Greek is makrothumeo , which is a conjunction of two words — makros meaning long and thumos meaning temper . The idea is “ slow to anger ” or a long time under duress before one gets angry . We shall see how critical the idea of control , or the lack thereof , relates to anger .
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It is our responsibility to overcome the flesh ( 5 : 24 ) , not just one manifestation of it .
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Wounds that are not transformed are transferred to others . Homes , work places , and churches are full of wounded people who bounce off one another’s wounds . There is a major difference between people who get angry and angry people . Some are like caged animals who are ready to pounce the moment someone touches their sore spot .
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Please , for your sake , don’t just read the book ; do the book . If you are dependent upon God , willing to repent , and believe the gospel you will be able to put off all bitterness , wrath , anger , clamor , and slander along with all malice
1. Anger and Physical Health
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Frederick Buechner wrote : Of the seven deadly sins , anger is possibly the most fun . To lick your wounds , to smack your lips over grievances long past , to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come , to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back ; in many ways it is a feast fit for a king . The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself . The skeleton at the feast is you . 3
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Branching off from the central nervous system is a peripheral nervous system that has two distinct channels . One channel is the somatic nervous system . That system regulates all our muscular and skeletal movements . It is that which we have volitional control over . Provided we have adequate physical health , we can mentally choose to move our limbs , smile , and speak . Obviously , the somatic nervous system correlates with our will . We don’t do anything without first thinking it . The thought – action response may be so rapid that one is hardly aware of the sequence , but it is always there . Involuntary muscular movements do occur when the system breaks down , as is the case with Parkinson’s disease . The autonomic nervous system is that which regulates all our glands and correlates with our emotions . We don’t have direct volitional control over the functioning of our glands . In the same way we don’t have direct volitional control of our emotions including the feelings of anger .
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We can choose to do the loving thing on their behalf even though we don’t like them . We cannot simply tell ourselves to stop being angry because we cannot directly manage our emotions that way . When we acknowledge that we are angry , we do have control over how we are going to express it . We can manage our behavior within limits , because that is something we have volitional control over . We do have control of what we will think and believe , and that is what controls what we do and how we feel .
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Telling angry people that they shouldn’t be angry will only produce guilt , defensiveness ( rationalization ) , or retaliation . You will have as much success telling them to stop being angry as they will have trying to keep their autonomic nervous system from functioning . We can , however , be a calming influence so they can manage their behavior . “ A gentle answer turns away wrath , but a harsh word stirs up anger ” ( Proverbs 15 : 1 ) . We could say , “ I know you are angry right now , and you may have good reason to be . Are you open to sharing with me what that reason is so I can understand ? ” Anger in others is a symptom that must be acknowledged , or you will be adding insult to injury .
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other partner is a Christian who believes that success is becoming the person God created him to be . He believes that God will supply all his needs . Therefore , this loss has less of an impact on him . Though he will likely be disappointed , he doesn’t get angry , because he sees this temporary setback at work as a learning experience and continues to believe that all things work together for good to those who trust God ( Romans 8 : 28 ) . One of these two partners is stressed out and angry while the other partner isn’t . The primary difference between the two men is their belief system , not their external circumstances , which are the same . “ For as he thinks within himself , so he is ” ( Proverbs
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What we believe does affect how we respond to the circumstances of life . If our identity and security are centered in our eternal relationship with God , then the temporal things of life have less of an impact on us .
2. Anger and Mental Health
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It is the emotional wounds that are keeping people in bondage to the past . They are not in bondage to past traumas . They are in bondage to the lies they have believed as a result of the trauma ,
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Such deeply embedded lies leave victims feeling anxious and depressed . Some are filled with rage and don’t know why . Secular therapists are aware of this and employ various techniques to discover what those past traumas are . We have found it far more fruitful to ask God to reveal to our minds painful memories and the lies behind them . 6 They often surface when people process the Steps .
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“ Stop trying to figure out what is wrong with you when God hasn’t revealed anything . Find out what is true about being a new creation in Christ . That is your ticket to being set free from your past . ”
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The surer you are of the answer to what a new creation in Christ is all about , the more able and willing you will be to deal with the problem . If you couldn’t handle the trauma at the time , what makes you think you can now if you haven’t matured in Christ ? When we show ourselves faithful in little things , God will entrust us with bigger things .
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Severely traumatized people often don’t start recovering painful memories until later in life . In His graciousness God waits until they have enough maturity to deal with it , and even then He doesn’t reveal everything all at once . It is like peeling layers off an onion . God starts with the outer layer , which is what you are conscious of . When that is dealt with He reveals the next layer of painful memories until they are all acknowledged and dealt with . I have seen some go through two or three layers in one conference , and I believe that happens because they are given an opportunity to resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts . We should never open a wound without having the means to close it .
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the right response to emotional indicators is acknowledgment , to look under the hood . That is what the rest of this book is going to help you do , and we will start by showing the interconnection of faith and feeling .
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We get angry when our plans are blocked ,
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God has a plan for our lives , but until our faith is perfected , His plans will often collide with our plans .
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Nobody or nothing on planet Earth can keep us from becoming the person God created us to be . The only ones who can block that goal is ourselves .
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if we falsely believe that our identity and our purpose for being here are dependent upon other people or favorable circumstances , we will experience a lot of anger ,
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Your desire to get to a certain place on time may be blocked , but God’s goal for you to conform to His image is not being blocked . It is being tested . “ The
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Anger is about control or the lack thereof , which is why so many get angry while driving . We leave our “ controlled ” environment of home and engage the traffic , which we can’t control , although we make futile attempts to do so by being passively or actively aggressive . We get angry at government , because we can’t control the political system . If your anger toward government is righteous , you actually can do something about it besides voting . You can get involved in grassroots politics and work your way up the system becoming a person of influence . That would take too long , so I will organize an angry protest and take to the streets . There are times when a peaceful protest is warranted , but the angry mobs that start riots in order to get their way never end well . You can always pray , speak the truth in love , and be part of the building crew instead of the wrecking crew . Or you can say , “ That is vain ! We will follow our own plans , and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart ” ( Jeremiah 18 : 12 ESV ) .
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There is nobody more insecure than a controller . The attempt to control others is based on the false belief that one’s success and sense of worth is dependent upon the cooperation of other people and favorable circumstances , which they seek to control . Controllers may not appear angry , but they are seething on the inside , and sadly this will continue all their lives unless they repent , because there is no way they can control everything and everybody .
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try to control his congregation and inflict a little guilt on them for not being better witnesses .
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The intensity with which we react to a particular situation and the longevity of our anger indicates how threatening that person or event appears to us . In other words , how strong and how long our anger persists when a goal is blocked reveals how much we value our objectives . Think about the difference in how you’d feel if you got a flat tire versus being told by your boss that you were a complete failure on your job . The flat tire may have disrupted your plans and prevented you from getting to a certain place on time . You can change the tire or call your roadside service provider and they will change it for you . Annoying as it may be , you will probably get over it in a short time . A stinging reproach of your professional competence or a disruption of your career goals strikes a deeper chord . The anger toward those who leveled such an attack or prevented your promotion would likely cause a few sleepless nights and could even throw you into a tailspin of doubt , debilitating introspection , and depression . Such is the basis for workplace violence .
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tribulations of life . If the trials and tribulations of life make you angry , then consider Paul’s words in Romans 5 : 3 – 5 : “ We also exult in our tribulations , knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance ; and perseverance , proven character ; and proven character , hope ; and hope does not disappoint , because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us . ” The
3. A Worthy Goal
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A rebellious child is not blocking our goal of being loving parents , but the situation is testing our character . If we respond in the flesh , we are letting subordinates control us , which stands in stark contrast to those who respond in love . “ Love is patient and kind ;
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Perpetually angry people are self – centered . They are angry at anything or anyone who gets in their way , who disrupts their plans , who blocks their goal of being recognized , rewarded , or first in anything .
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Denying yourself is denying self – rule and acknowledging God as your Creator and Lord . It may seem sacrificial , but what are you actually sacrificing ?
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You are sacrificing the lower life to gain the higher life . Why people choose to be happy as mortals instead of being blessed as children of God is the mystery of the ages and reveals the hardness of our own hearts .
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You are sacrificing the pleasure of things to gain the pleasures of life . What would you exchange for love , joy , peace , patience , kindness , goodness , faithfulness , gentleness , and self – control ? Would you rather have a new car , a second home , a promotion at work , a motorboat , a jug of wine , or a prostitute ? There will be a lot of anger if we love things and use people and a lot less anger if we learn to use things to love people .
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you must be willing to adjust plans that become unrealistic or inconsistent with the leading of the Holy Spirit , because you never know what may happen tomorrow that could temporarily or permanently alter your plans . James warns , “ Come now , you who say , ‘ Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit ’ — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring . What is your life ? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes . Instead you ought to say , ‘ If the Lord wills , we will live and do this or that . ’ As it is you boast in your arrogance . All such boasting is evil ” ( James 4 : 13 – 16 ESV ) .
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Assuming you are in a right relationship with God , you will still be confronted with daily choices as to what is controlling your life and challenges to right thinking and believing . You always have a choice as to whether you are living by the Spirit or walking by the flesh . Paul
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but they can choose to live according to their old nature ( flesh ) .
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We cannot blame another for outbursts of anger . That is a deed of our flesh , not the other person . We need to assume responsibility for such deeds of the flesh the moment we are aware of them . Humble confession is in order . I’m sorry , I shouldn’t have responded that way .
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The mind is the control center . You don’t do anything without first thinking it . There is always a cause and an effect . It sometimes happens so quickly that it may seem as though you have no will , but you do .
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“ Sin is crouching at the door ; and its desire is for you , but you must master it . ” Cain didn’t , and he killed his brother .
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Often when we see another person emotionally overcome , we want to grab hold of the person and say , “ Think . Put this in perspective . Get hold of yourself . ” We need to talk to ourselves the same way .
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The world is becoming more hostile . That doesn’t change who we are in Christ . There are wars and rumors of wars . We are still children of God . The world is going to hell . We’re not . The stock market could crash again . Our God will meet all our needs according to His riches . We could be imprisoned for our beliefs , and we would still be free “ in Christ . ” Satan has deceived the whole world , but the truth has set us free . There is nothing the devil can do about our identity and position in Christ , but if he can convince us to disbelieve what God says is true about us , we will live as though it isn’t .
4. Righteous Indignation
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if you want to get angry and not sin , then get angry the way Christ did . Get angry at sin .
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The Lord looked “ around at them with anger , grieved at their hardness of heart , ” and proceeded to heal the man ( Mark 3 : 5 ) . Jesus exposed their religious hypocrisy while maintaining complete control of Himself and the situation . By asking the question , He let them self – incriminate . He was not responding to a blocked goal , because God has no blocked goals .
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He was not responding to a blocked goal , because God has no blocked goals . The wrath of God is part of His righteous nature . It will become part of our nature if we are growing in Christ , because we are partakers of His divine nature ( 2 Peter 1 : 4 ) .
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The wrath of God is part of His righteous nature . It will become part of our nature if we are growing in Christ , because we are partakers of His divine nature ( 2 Peter 1 : 4 ) .
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Paul was not scolding them because they were carnal infants in Christ , but because they were still carnal when they should have matured .
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Righteous anger that does not result in righteous action often leads to cynicism . The kingdom of God doesn’t need any more cynics who only sit in judgment of others . Righteous indignation should lead us to do something constructive — to forgive , pray , alleviate suffering or oppression
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We can’t preach the good news and be the bad news
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on the tenth green , held hands , and prayed . There is no more effective way of channeling righteous anger than having a prayer vigil during and following senseless tragedies .
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bless ( speak well of ) those who curse you , and pray for those who abuse you like Jesus did on
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Discerning Christians can meet another believer for the first time and sense a compatible spirit . Like spirits attract . Opposing spirits repel . I have approached people who are under Satan’s influence and they depart without saying anything . The demonic spirit harassing them is reacting to the Holy Spirit within me
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Do we really believe that we can overcome evil with good in a world that believes nice people finish last ? Probably not if we think that just one act of kindness would do it . It takes a lifestyle
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We need to make our voices heard , but the longterm strategy is to encourage more believers to become judges , mayors , governors , and presidents . Writing letters to our government representatives , signing petitions , and marching for life has some merit but pales in comparison to the influence a godly person has who is working within the system behind closed doors . God has His people everywhere , and we need to unite behind them in prayer .
5. Mental Strongholds
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Since there were no unmet needs , no frustrations , no blocked goals , and no sense of injustice , there was no anger . Adam and Eve lived in perfect peace with God and each other .
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Because the flesh is self – serving and self – protecting it is by nature selfish . A selfish person will inevitably have angry confrontations with another selfish person , because both want their own way . It is not the nature of a selfish person to consider the other person more important than themselves , but it is God’s nature ( Philippians 2 : 3 – 4 ) , otherwise we would all be doomed .
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Jesus said , “ The time is fulfilled , and the kingdom of God is at hand ; repent and believe the gospel ” ( Mark 1 : 15 ) . To repent means to change one’s mind . In the early church they would literally face the West and say , “ I renounce you Satan , and all your works , and all your ways . ” Then they would face the East and make their profession of faith in Christ . Salvation is not addition . We didn’t just add Jesus to our lives . We are transformed when we believe the truth that will set us free . If we continue to believe as we always have and simply add on a new belief , we haven’t truly repented .
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THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. ITS THE WHY BEHIND REPENTANCE. YOU CANT JUST ADD NEW BELIEFS . YOU MUST SUBTRACT OR DELETE THE OLD ONES
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Mike chose alcohol as his means of coping and became an alcoholic until he discovered who he is in Christ . It has been our privilege to serve together helping people overcome addictive behavior . If there are patterns of alcohol and drugs in your family or in your own experience , there will be intense anger . There will also be sexual bondage in the vast majority of users and abusers , a problem that usually goes untreated in chemical dependency programs . Breaking that bondage is the key to recovery .
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Death is the end of sin’s controlling relationship to us , but not its existence . Sin is still here and appealing , but because we are alive in Christ , we don’t have to yield to it .
6. Flesh Patterns
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He does not mean that they destroyed their flesh ; otherwise how were they going to live ? For the crucified person is dead and inactive . But what he means is strict discipleship . Even
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Evangelist D.L . Moody , the “ Billy Graham ” of the nineteenth century , had a sharp temper which he learned to control — usually . One evening , Moody was conducting two evangelistic services back to back . After the first service , as Mr . Moody was standing near the door welcoming the new crowd , a man approached him and delivered a highly offensive insult of some sort . Moody never later repeated it , but it must have been contemptible for in a sudden fit of anger , Moody shoved the man and sent him tumbling down a short flight of steps . The man was not badly harmed , but Moody’s friends wondered how he could possibly preach the second service . “ When I saw Moody give way to his temper , ” said an observer , “ I said to myself , ‘ The meeting is killed . The large number who have seen the whole thing will hardly be in condition to be influenced by anything more Mr . Moody can say tonight . ’ ” Moody called the meeting to order , stood , and with trembling voice spoke these words : “ Friends , before beginning tonight I want to confess that I yielded just now to my temper , out in the hall , and have done wrong . Just as I was coming in here tonight , I lost my temper with a man , and I want to confess my wrong before you all , and if that man is present here whom I thrust away from me in anger , I want to ask his forgiveness and God’s . Let us pray . ” Instead of a lost cause , the meeting seemed unusually touched that night , with many people deeply and eternally impressed with the gospel . 1
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The content of this chapter will identify several angry flesh patterns and give you the opportunity to repent and turn away from them . Keep in mind that flesh patterns do not define who you are . You are children of God who are learning to be angry but not sin .
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The Anger Avoider Ron and Pat Potter – Efron identify those who suppress their anger as the anger avoider : Anger avoiders don’t like anger much . Some avoiders are afraid of their anger , or the anger of others . Anger seems too scary to touch . They’re scared of losing control if they get mad , of letting out the monster inside of them . Other avoiders think that it’s bad to be angry . They’ve learned sayings like , “ Only dogs get mad ” and “ Be nice , don’t be angry . ” They hide from their anger because they want to be liked . 2 People who suppress their anger try to keep the peace at all costs . They want to be known as “ nice ” people . They feel very uncomfortable around anger and will accommodate and appease whenever possible . When that’s not possible , they will withdraw . It is possible to be so well conditioned to avoiding and suppressing anger that one genuinely believes he or she simply has no anger . Such was the case with a dear friend of ours , who wrote : After my wife passed away and while in counseling , I was asked the question : “ How much anger did you have ? ” I answered , “ None . ” “ You don’t have any anger ? ” was the next question . “ No , I don’t have any anger , ” was my reply . “ Well , how did it make you feel ? ” “ I felt hurt , but I didn’t have any anger ! ” They immediately went on to explain that if I felt hurt , then I had anger . They explained that when one feels hurt , they have anger . But I kept insisting on the fact that , “ No , I don’t feel angry . ” Then they changed their questions to : “ Do you ever lose your temper ? ” “ No ! ” “ How do you feel about others getting angry and losing their temper ? ” I said , “ I don’t appreciate it . ” “ How do you feel about Christians getting angry ? ” I replied , “ I don’t believe they should ! ” After some time they explained to me that I was stuffing my anger . I had it , but was just not acknowledging it . They pointed out that since I didn’t believe in Christians being angry , I just kept denying mine and suppressing it ; and that’s why I didn’t feel it . I really didn’t believe that I had anger . This man , who had served as a pastor for decades , finally understood how far out of touch with his emotions he had become . In a fleshly effort to stay in control , he had slammed the door shut on his emotional life . He believed the lie that he had to be in control and had himself become controlled . He was in bondage to his own emotional denial . After discovering his identity and freedom in Christ he wrote : Since I have acknowledged my emotions and have allowed myself to accept how I feel , I am enjoying so many good feelings of joy . I have come to see that when I stuffed my bad feelings I also stuffed my good ones . It’s so freeing to be myself and experience the joy of walking in who I am in Christ — that I can have normal emotions , just like Jesus did when He lived upon earth . Have you felt guilty when you experienced even a twinge of anger ? Have you believed that good Christians don’t get angry ? Have you been angry with yourself for not being assertive enough ? In the past , have you hung up the phone and kicked yourself internally for pledging money for a cause you really had no interest in supporting ? Have you beat yourself up inside for letting a more powerful personality persuade you to take on another task that you knew you have neither the time nor energy to tackle ? Realize that anger avoidance is a fleshly means of coping with the fear of anger , confrontation , disapproval , and rejection . We cannot be right with God and not be real . God may have to make us real in order for us to be right with Him . That is called brokenness , which almost always brings emotional freedom . If you identify with the “ anger avoider ” we encourage you to say the following out loud : I renounce the lie that I have to deny my emotions in order to have self – control . I announce the truth that I am free in Christ to be a real and authentic child of God who experiences the full range of emotions under the liberating power of God . I give myself permission to be angry when appropriate , but not sin . We have seen extreme cases in which ritual abuse victims have been unable to express any emotions , including anger . These “ zero effect ” persons have been programmed to believe that if they express how they feel ( cry , get angry ) they or someone else will be hurt . Many are unable to shed a tear . We have seen tears immediately start to flow in ritual abuse victims after saying : I renounce the lie that my crying or showing any emotion at all will cause harm or death to me or anyone else .
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Those who have a tendency to explode are like dormant volcanoes . There is always the threat of an eruption . If they had a seismograph attached to their emotions , they would find continual tremors taking place . They live in a constant state of agitation . Whereas calm people will normally be at a 0 or 1 on the anger scale , anger exploders wake up in the morning registering 5 . There is a subtle underlying anger all the time ! That’s why they erupt in anger at the slightest provocation .
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But the same competitive fire that fueled a passionate Bill McCartney in the Spirit can also produce an angry Bobby Knight in the flesh .
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Why , then , do some people seek [ anger ] out ? How could anyone get hooked on anger ? The answer is the rush . The anger rush is the strong physical sensation that comes with getting really mad . The rush is the result of the body’s natural fight – or – flight response to danger . The surge of adrenaline . The faster heart rate . Quickened breathing . Tensed muscles . Anger activates the body . The adrenaline boost can help you feel strong . It injects excitement into a dull day . 5 Like any addict , anger addicts build up a tolerance for the “ drug . ” That means more intensity in order to get the same high . The result can be deadly — either on the road , in the home ,
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Grace – based Christians don’t do what they do in order to be accepted . They are already accepted and that is why they do what they do .
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Christianity can be separated from all other religions on the basis of one question . What does it take for you to be loved and accepted ?
7. Healing Anger Wounds
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If you have , then your soul is in union with God . Every believer is alive and free in Christ , but how many are living that way ? All could if we let Him finish the good work He has begun in us .
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“ All that God had to do for us to be completely free from our past was accomplished at the cross and by the resurrection of Jesus . ” Now it is up to us to repent and believe the gospel . All that was programmed into our minds in the past is still present in our memories . Deeply embedded lies from past traumas leave festering wounds and damaged emotions that are triggered by present events .
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He sets us free from it . In the past we processed events as natural people . Now because of our new identity and position in Christ we can reprocess them , but not as a victim .